Although getting return customers isn’t rocket science, there is definitely more to it than hanging a sign on the door that says, “Please Come Again!”.
We all wish it was obviously that easy, but there are plenty of things you can do to make sure customers happily come back to your business.
Here are 11 effective ways to earn repeat business and keep your customers coming back.
1. Earn Repeat Business with a Habit Forming Product
Having an “addictive” product doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be something that people physically crave, or something upon which they are emotionally dependent, like Instagram or Twitter.
It may just be something that is so much fun, that they can’t go a day without it. Maybe you are an online service provider with a user interface that is really simple and fun to use, or maybe your packaging is the fun part…
The key is to inspire joy in the customer, to such an extent that they have to keep coming back for it—because they just can’t help it.
2. Target Your Business’ Ideal Customers to Keep them Coming Back
It’s easy to market your product to everyone within reach, but equally ineffective. The far better way is to determine who your ideal customer is, and then focus your marketing and advertising towards those customers.
Better customer retention rate, will significantly improve your perspective & overall business success. By working on the customer service fundamentals, you can impress your customers and see the results of good customer care tactics. Being constantly present and available for your customers will have the most impact on your customer retention rate.
You will be better able to serve them, and the new customers you do bring in will be more likely to stick with you because your business is just what they were looking for.
3. The DIY Factor: Customers Actually Want to Work For it
A study conducted by Harvard Business School revealed something interesting about the connection between products that require some labor on the customer’s part, and the amount of value they place on those products.
Dubbed “the IKEA Effect” by the researchers, the study results showed that people actually tend to place more value on a product that requires some work to complete.
Isn’t there just something enticing about a salad bar, a Lego set, or the Build-a-Bear Workshop? In fact there is research to back this up. (See a link to the full study linked above.)
One thing that they definitively proved through the study was that this doesn’t work unless your customer’s labor leads to successful completion, so that’s a key thing to remember if you attempt to use this strategy.
4. Don’t Assume That Your Customers Are Stupid
One mistake made by many of those in customer service is insulting the customer’s intelligence by assuming that they won’t be able to understand the product or the explanations thereof.
This is generally not a good idea because while everything should be clear and easy to understand, it is easy to upset a customer by talking down to them, whether through a direct conversation, or in any other correspondence. That’s no way to secure return customers.
You are obviously in business to make money, and even though your customers are aware of that the whole time, they still want to believe that you see them as a person, and not just a sale. It’s important that you treat them with respect & how you, yourself would want to be treated. It goes a long way.
5. Give Customers a Reason to Come Back to Your Business
An easy way to give customers an incentive to buy from you again is to offer a discount on their next purchase, but the incentive doesn’t have to be monetary. You’re more likely to retain their continued business if long-time customers receive some kind of reward, or at least recognition.
For example, if your staff goes the extra mile to treat each customer with consideration, as a friend, this can make a powerful impact. A human touch might be what they’re coming back for.
Train your customer support team to connect with customers, while still providing expert service—this is one of the things that really stands out to people.
6. Prove to Your Customers That They Matter, by Sending a Note
Speaking of a human touch, it helps to show that you remember your customers by sending out a quick, informal note, following their first purchase. One type of letter that is great for this is a Thank You note, which can be very effective for impressing your customers.
Here are some examples of Thank You notes that you can use.
7. Put Together a Great Business Team
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it, anyway: If you want a first-rate business, then you need a first-rate team.
Most businesses are well aware of this fact, but we can underestimate just how detrimental it is. When you have great customer-service team that actually cares & treats your clients well, it shows.
Even if you run a 100-percent online business, you need people who are knowledgeable, hard-working, and effective (among other things) because the work they do is directly connected to the experience your customers will have.
8. Give Customers a Chance to Be Part of a Community
We all want to belong. Whether you have a healthy following on social media where customers have the opportunity to comment on your products, or a loyalty program that they can sign up for or subscribe to—the sense of belonging to a community is a great way to keep customers.
One of the most reliable ways to win over customers is just to do what you do better than anybody else. Customers notice when you go the extra mile for them & include them.
9. Offer an Easy Way for Customers to Contact You, and Respond Promptly
Establishing clear channels through which your customers can reach you is necessary to give them a way to tell you all their gripes & questions, and sometimes they might even send you a compliment..
Whether it’s through an email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting, the time it takes you to get back to a customer makes a huge difference. Responding quickly makes them feel that they matter to you, and they should!
If your customers can’t get through to you, then they may decide that they’re not happy with your service. It doesn’t take much, for some customers, to be dissatisfied or agitated.
10. Utilize the Attraction of Youthfulness & What’s ‘New’
To create a customer experience that makes them want to come back, it helps to take the drives that are in all of us, and incorporate that into your product—or at least into the way it’s presented.
The universal desire to feel young and vibrant may be one of the most compelling motivators to attract your customers. This might take the form of marketing your product as something that is on the cutting edge, or you can simply showcase younger customers who use your product.
11. Provide the Best Customer Experience Possible
Make sure that your customers’ overall experience, from the time they find your business to the point of sale, is as good as it possibly can be. This involves a variety of elements, but among the most important ones are: Great service, great website or store design, quick and clear purchasing, and follow-up support.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.